FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 17, number 44, November 8, 2018
“But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”
What the Civil Magistrate Can and Cannot Do
As in any country, the United States is a place of wickedness, perversion, and defilement. There is no need here to site the statistics for crime. It is unnecessary to give you stories of sexual abuse of children or the drive by killings in our inner cities. And we all know of the corruption we find in Washington and in nearly every seat of state and local government in our country.
So, what is the Civil Magistrate’s job? What is the God ordained government’s responsibility? Paul makes clear in the Romans 13 passage cited above that the role of government is to protect the nation from evildoers. It is to prosecute lawbreakers. To go further, the civil magistrate is to protect us from invasion of foreign powers and to provide safety and tranquility so that people can live productively and peaceably. If one wants to have no trouble from the government, then he should obey the law. If he wants trouble, then he should go ahead and break the law.
The civil magistrate, however, is incapable of producing righteousness. My illustration on this point always is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This was a good and necessary law. Discrimination based on race, color, religion, etc is unjust and should never stand in any nation. However, as important as the Civil Rights Act was and is, it is incapable of producing love in a white man for a black man. It is incapable of moving a black man to forgive a white man for mistreating him. Only the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, making both the white man and the black man new creations in Christ, can accomplish this great and necessary work.
The present administration, for example, has been a great friend to the church, to the unborn, and to the oppressed peoples around the world. If you travel to the Nuba mountains of Sudan where the Muslim government of Khartoum has been systematically practicing ethnic cleansing on the sub-Saharan black Christians there, dropping bombs from Russian made bombers and helicopter gunships for many years, then you will find the people there are very thankful for our President’s intervention on their behalf. Shortly after taking office, President Trump promised to lessen the U.S. sanctions against Sudan if they would stop the bombing and wholesale murder of thousands of people in the Nuba mountains and Darfur. It has been nearly two years since any bombs have fallen on these Christian people, living in what some describe as an “island of Christianity in a sea of Islam.”
There have been times in our history when God has seemingly given us a reprieve from the judgment we so deserve. Abraham Lincoln’s presidency comes immediately to mind. The bloodshed of the Civil War was, it seems to me, a judgment on our nation because of slavery, and Lincoln’s presidency eventually stopped the judgement of bloodshed and began the reunification of our nation. Today may also be one of those times of reprieve. Some Christian leaders certainly think so. They say that the appointment of two Constitutionalist Supreme Court Justices, the booming economy, the record low unemployment numbers in the African American and Hispanic communities, the 4% GDP growth, the lessening of restrictions on drilling which has resulted in making the United States the number one exporter in the world of oil and natural gas all illustrate this point.
Having said this, however, we continue to be a wicked and perverse nation in so many ways. I liken it to a flood of evil which is continually rising, like flood waters which follow a hurricane. A home owner in the line of flood waters will place sand bags around his house in order to divert the flood waters which threaten to inundate his house. As the flood waters continue to rise, he adds more and more sand bags, but the waters continue to rise. He is out of sand bags and he watches helplessly as his house is finally destroyed by the devastating waters of the flood.
A strong, just government is a good thing, like sand bags keeping out the raging flood waters which threaten to destroy a nation.
However, it would be a huge mistake for anyone to think that a just, civil magistrate is all that is necessary, that we can go on reveling in our peace and prosperity without the least concern for our moral and spiritual state. The civil magistrate can never produce righteousness.
My friends, righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34). Righteousness comes only from righteous people, those who are in Christ, those who have the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, those who are born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
And how shall they gain this righteousness? They must be evangelized, and that is our major problem. We are simply not getting the job done on reaching the lost with the gospel. If you read the leading pastors today you will find that most no longer believe you can lead someone to Christ in a one time, spiritual conversation, that street preaching, door to door, or survey evangelism does not work. They say that we live in a different era, in a postmodern world where people no longer believe in heaven or hell.
Here’s my vision-that we have an evangelist on the staff of every Reformed or Presbyterian church in America. Pastors are generally not evangelists. They know they should be evangelizing, but they do very little of it. Why? Often they are well intentioned, but they are very busy in sermon preparation, counseling, committee and elder meetings, overseeing ministry teams and leadership development. There is no end to a pastor’s responsibilities. And since he is not a gifted evangelist, the evangelistic outreach is put on the back burner. Little forays into the community are often attempted, but there is very little sustained, coordinated, prayer driven, Spirit anointed evangelistic activity.
That’s why churches need an evangelist on their church staffs. Pastor, church member-what if I could provide you an evangelist who raises his own support, who will become part of your church and spend thirty or forty hours a week in evangelistic outreach in your community? Would you go for that? I would only ask that you encourage him, furnish him an office and administrative help, joyfully receive those whom he brings into the church, regardless of how they look or dress, and not usurp his time with other responsibilities. At present, I could only deliver a few such men. That’s why we must find young evangelists, train them, and deploy them.
Without the conversion of millions of people in the U.S. resulting in a tsunami of truth which inundates our land like a righteous flood, then we will surely be overwhelmed with a flood of wickedness which will destroy us from within. Therefore, we must have evangelists laboring daily in all our churches.
This is a copy of the letter Dr. Peter Hammond, Frontline Fellowship, Cape Town, South Africa, recently sent to President Trump. Peter Hammond has long been an advocate for the persecuted church throughout Africa.
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20500
Dear President Donald Trump
Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
On behalf of our Mission and the many Christians we serve in Sudan, we want to Thank You for your effective diplomatic efforts which have brought unprecedented and unexpected relief to the long-suffering Christians of the remote and war-devastated Nuba Mountains of Sudan.
Last year we noticed that your administration came in for some stinging criticism for lifting economic sanctions on the radical Islamic government of Sudan. However, as Missionaries who have been heavily engaged on the ground serving the people of South Sudan and of the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, we have witnessed the positive effects of your administration’s diplomatic efforts to persuade the government of dictator Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to cease and desist all hostile acts against the beleaguered people of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, the Blue Nile and those in Darfur.
We are well aware that Omar al-Bashir faces International Criminal prosecution on charges of crimes against humanity, including genocide. From our observation, along with victims and survivors on the ground, we have no doubt that al-Bashir should be charged before the International Court of Justice for these crimes.
However, we have witnessed the cease-fire during our missions to South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains in January/February last year and November/December last year. We have just concluded a mission, during which we travelled throughout the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan in Sudan reaching 130 schools that the people of the Nuba are enjoying unprecedented peace under this cease-fire. This enabled many more schools to be established, churches planted, buildings repaired, crops harvested and all the other essential aspects of life which have been virtually impossible under the incessant aerial bombardments of the government of Sudan’s Antonovs, MiGs and Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship.
Since our Mission first began working in the Nuba Mountains in 1996, we have come under aerial bombardments, including being strafed by Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships. We have witnessed the devastation of the scorched earth Tamsit (combing) campaign of the National Islamic Front (NIF) government of Omar al-Bashir.
Our recent Mission was the culmination of a 14 month project to print, ship and deliver Bibles and books to the remote and rugged Nuba Mountains this island of Christianity that continues to survive in a sea of Islam.
When this project began we had no idea that the negotiation initiative by the Trump Administration in the United States would bring about an unprecedented cease-fire in the Nuba Mountains.
According to our hosts and contacts on the ground, no bombing or any acts of military aggression have been experienced in the Nuba Mountains over the last year. Our Mission teams enjoyed this window of opportunity provided by this unexpected and unprecedented cease-fire to reach 130 primary and secondary schools in the Nuba Mountains, distributing to them 32,000 Bibles and 43,000 The Story of Jesus Christ full colour picture books. The people of the Nuba Mountains are excited to learn the Gospel, while simultaneously using them as their textbooks to learn English. Even Muslim schools in the Nuba Mountains were delighted to receive these Bibles and picture books as they wanted to use them to teach their children to read and speak English.
The people who we serve in Sudan want us to communicate to you their deep gratitude and appreciation for your endeavors which are giving hope to long-suffering persecuted Christians in North Africa. Thank you for making a stand for Christianity and for speaking up for those who have long-suffered oppression and persecution for their faith.
I have been a Missionary for over 36 years, concentrated on Restricted Access Areas, serving persecuted Christians throughout Africa. I am the author of Faith Under Fire in Sudan, which documents the longest war in Africa and how the Christian Faith has flourished, even under fire in North Africa.
Over the years I have brought many missionaries and ministries into Sudan to help these long-suffering people, including Franklin Graham’s Samaritans Purse, who are doing superb work saving lives and healing bodies.
In case you, or any of your people would be interested in the story of those who are benefiting from your refreshing foreign policies, undoing much of the extreme damage caused by the reckless and irresponsible Clinton and Obama foreign policy disasters, I will be mailing a copy of the hard backed third edition of Faith Under Fire in Sudan, along with a DVD with documentaries on Sudan the Hidden Holocaust and Terrorism and Persecution – Understanding Islamic Jihad, which American film makers of Jeremiah Films produced while on Frontline Missions to Sudan.
We know that you are greatly criticized for your policies, but please know that there are people in Africa praising God that there is a courageous man who understands the situation and is using the Art of the Deal to bring relief to the long-bombarded and beleaguered Nuba tribes of Sudan.
You, your family and administration remain in our thoughts and prayers.
May God continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for Faith and freedom
Dr. Peter Hammond
1. Dr. Peter Hammond’s letter to President Trump